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Boris Johnson had a tough time with the audience during tonight’s live leadership debate on the BBC. Those present were clearly unimpressed with the Prime Minister avoiding answering questions. However, one important point came when Johnson was asked about the help he’d promised 1950s women affected by the rise in the state pension age. After previously promising to work to find a solution to help those affected, he suddenly revealed he “can’t magic up money” to help them.
The plight of women born in the 1950s affected by the rise in state pension is well known. When the Coalition Government decided to speed up the age at which women can retire, this saw some women having as little as nine-months notice that they had to work another five years until they could draw their State Pension.
3.8million women born in the 1950s, are having their state pension age hiked to 66 by 2020.
The group, who crowdfunded their for their case, argued the change was unlawful due to age and sex discrimination and came with too little notice, but their claims were rejected in court.
The groups solicitor told the High Court the changes; “have pushed women who were already disadvantaged into the lowest class you can imagine. They’re on the brink of survival.”
Johnson’s Previous Pledge
During the Conservative Party Leadership contest, Boris Johnson announced that he would work to find a way to help the affected women. He said;
“The Treasury raise some stupefying sum that they say will be necessary to deal with it. I’m not convinced that’s necessarily true. Let’s see what we can do.”
He then went further promising to find a solution as quickly as possible telling a Tory hustings;
“I must say the answer I’ve got back from the Treasury is not yet satisfactory.
“I will undertake – if I’m lucky enough to succeed in this campaign – to return to this issue with fresh vigour and new eyes and see what I can do to sort it out.
“Because I’m conscious it’s been going on for too long.”
1950s Women Abandoned Again
Tonight was the much anticipated Live Leaders Debate on the BBC. The format was that the party leaders of Labour, The SNP, The Lib Dems and The Conservatives, would face 30 minutes of questions from a live studio audience.
Jeremy Corbyn went first, followed by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and the Liberal Democrat’s Jo Swinson. This saw Boris Johnson go last against what had become clear was a hostile audience.
After being asked about Brexit and truth in politics, The Prime Minister was asked about what help he would be offering to the women affected by the pension age changes.
Johnson then revealed that having looked and looked at the issue, he couldn’t ” I can magic up that money ” to help them.
His full answer was as follows;
“The WASPI issue as everyone knows is a very difficult problem caused by a change in the pension age for women who retired at a certain age.
“And I do sympathise deeply with the position of the WASPI women.
“And we have looked at it and looked at it and looked at it. I would love to be able to magic you a solution.
“It is very expensive to come up with the solution that you want.
“And I’m going to be honest with you tonight. I cannot promise that I can magic up that money for you tonight. All the demands the WASPI women have made.
“It is not possible to satisfy all the demands of the WASPI women. I’ll put my hands up and confess that.”
So there we have it. Johnson has confirmed that he’s abandoning the 1950s women and that’s it. This is yet more proof that the Tories don’t care about the most vulnerable in society. What he may not realise is that be dumping the 3.8 million affected women, they will have upset many more people who support their cause.
Where The Other Parties Stand
- Labour have pledged to work with those affected to put together an acceptance package to help the affected women.
- The Liberal Democrats have also pledged to compensate anyone affected by the changes.
- The SNP have pledged to vote for any policy that helps the women affected.